Our culture loves the supernatural–just look at how many TV shows and movies feature superheroes, vampires, and the impossible coming into everyday life. While our culture may think the only satisfaction for their appetites for the supernatural is through fiction, Christians know that we serve a living God who works miracles– miracles which impact our daily lives by pointing to the glory of Christ and His love for us in the gospel.
In the new book, The Wonder Working God: Seeing the Glory of Jesus in His Miracles, Jared C. Wilson unpacks the wonder and glory of Jesus’ miracles in a powerful and practical way. Meditating on the miracles of Christ leads some to analyze some of the nitty-gritty, and altogether-unimportant details like how exactly did water turn into wine? Or why didn’t Jesus walk on water more often? Wilson helpfully gets us past distracting questions and takes us to the heart of issue: the glory of Christ in His person and work on the cross. The glory of the miracles is not in the miracle itself, but in the glory of the Miracle-maker.
Wilson writes in a way that is theological, but far from dry, and compellingly shows the glory of Christ as displayed in His miracles. Wilson grounds everything in the gospel and richly connects it to everyday life in Christ. Wilson also knows our culture and how we can settle for something other than Christ Himself, “many churches today are filled with people eager to trade the gospel for a miracle rather than embracing the miracle of the gospel.”
I found the book a pleasure to read due to Wilson’s profound and just-plain-fun writing style. He infuses humor into truth without being distracting like when he describes Jesus not drawing attention to Himself after a healing, “He refuses to be anyone’s trained miracle monkey” or casually using the word ‘mollycoddle’ just for the heck of it. Here is a short preview:
Over and over we see what kinds of people Jesus goes out of his way to fraternize with, consistently setting the first last and the last first (Matt. 19:30). When the disciples are trying to cordon the children off, hustling them off to “children’s church” perhaps, it is the grown-ups he rebukes (vv. 13-14). It’s the sick who need a doctor (9:12) and the poor in spirit who receive the blessing (5:3), so when you tug on Jesus’s garment, he doesn’t sigh or roll his eyes. He loves to be pestered. Pester him. His love is that deep.
Here are a few more sample quotes:
Even preachers identifying themselves as Christian today downplay the existence of sin and the primacy of the cross in order to present the faith as predominantly a self-improvement program. Like many who clamored about Jesus, many churches today are filled with people eager to trade the gospel for a miracle rather than embracing the miracle of the gospel.
We love for Jesus to fix our circumstances and our pains, but we don’t want him doing the invasive surgery his gospel is designed for.
Jesus gave the man the greatest gift he could receive: eternal pardon. The rest was gravy. Suppose Jesus had only healed the man’s body but not his soul? He might have danced until his dying day and then suffered for all eternity.
Some will say, “Oh, no, no. I know Jesus died on the cross for me.” But the problem is that they will never have died with him (Romans 6:6; Galatians 2:20; 6:14).
God cannot be boring. If we find him boring, it is we who are the problem, not God
Our boredom at any time, then, is a sin. Sin is, at its essence, a failure of worship, and failing to worship is failing to be astonished by the presence and activity of God in the world. Sin is a failure to marvel at and be motivated by the miracle of the gospel.
If you look to Jesus, the bread of life, and ask him to satisfy your hunger, he will not give you a stone. He will give you himself.
Overall, I recommend The Wonder-Working God to anyone looking to see the glory of Christ in a greater (and entertaining) way. I also recommend a companion book of sorts by Wilson, The Story-Telling God: Seeing the Glory of Jesus in His Parables.
Title: The Wonder-Working God: Seeing the Glory of Jesus in His Miracles
Author: Jared C. Wilson
Publisher: Crossway Books
Rating: 5 Stars
According to FTC Disclosures, I received a copy of this book from Crossway Books to provide an honest review.